How to Write
Voice Over Copy
Preparing Voice over Copy? Copy Our Notes!
At Edge Studio, we record voice over copy. We produce it. Sometimes we even write it. And, although some of our clients handle that aspect of their projects themselves, when we do it for them, we do it very well.
If you're preparing to take your first dive into writing voice over copy -- whether for a radio commercial, a sales presentation, a documentary, whatever -- here are some tips:
- Write short. People read aloud more slowly that when reading silently. That includes voice over talent. Include enough "air" to give the talent room for nuance, expression, emotion, clarity, and salesmanship. For a guide to length, use our Words to Time Calculator.
- Read it aloud. In addition to helping you gauge the copy length, it will expose the tongue-twisters you should eliminate. Professional VO artists can handle a lot of awkward moments, but sometimes a vocal hurdle can even confuse the listeners. By making life a little easier for them, you make it a lot better for yourself.
- Write conversationally. After all, your voice over talent is speaking. Whether formal or informal, it is a "conversation" with the listener or viewer.
- As in any good writing, avoid run-on sentences. In fact, commercial voice over copy often includes sentence fragments. That's how people speak. Just be sure the fragment's meaning is clear, and that it is ... how people speak.
- Format it as you would printed text. NOT ALL-CAPS. (They're actually harder to read.) Make it easy for the talent's eye to follow. That means lines that are not too long, not super-short (unless it's a two-column Audio/Video script, with visual cues in one column and the copy in the other column).
- Ensure that a sentence is not continued onto the next page, otherwise the narrator will need to change pages mid-sentence (causing noise on the microphone).
- Use proper punctuation, so the talent will understand what you mean.
- Set the lines at 1.5 spacing. That gives the talent room to pencil in some notes. And use size 14 font.
- If there are special instructions, unusual words or special pronunciations, include instructions and guidance above the copy and/or (if brief) in the body of the text. Especially, be sure they will know how to pronounce your company and/or brand name.
For free voice over copy samples, see our 5,148 sample scripts and further thoughts on voice over scripts.
For highly experienced copywriting assistance, email us or call Edge Studio at 212-868-EDGE.